Arsenal were excellent – pulsating at times. Arsène Wenger's decision to pick an experienced side was fully justified as they tore into Tottenham Hotspur after conceding two slightly fortuitous goals. Wenger's determination not to bow to a vocal crowd's desire to see Theo Walcott discarded proved crucial. In the second half he exploited the space down Spurs' left side to score two fine goals. Bacary Sagna, marauding forward and passing early, and Alex Song, forcing the play, provided the winger with good supply.
Robin van Persie, buoyed by his wonderful equaliser, was the perfect foil in attack, dropping off his markers and dragging them out of position. With Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny back together, Emmanuel Adebayor's chances of a glorious return to Arsenal were limited, but his efforts seemed lackadaisical when Tottenham needed a greater presence up front.
With the wind in Arsenal's sails, their confidence grew as Spurs' resistance weakened. The efforts in the second half of Scott Parker contrasted with the lesser contributions of Rafael van der Vaart and Adebayor. That would be of some concern to Harry Redknapp, as Tottenham faded as an attacking force.
The frenetic nature of this vital north London derby seemed to stir the home team to play at a much faster pace than the visitors. However, Arsenal's back four, playing a high line, were vulnerable in the early stages to quick counterattacks. But the positive to this policy was that Tomas Rosicky and Mikel Arteta were able to get closer to Van Persie. Rarely was he isolated as Arsenal controlled the majority of the possession.
Tottenham needed to stem Arsenal's resurgence and, unsurprisingly, the quiet Niko Kranjcar and the need for a deeper second striker than Louis Saha led to both players being replaced by Sandro and Van der Vaart. It was a defensive move, designed to help Tottenham wrest more possession.
However, with Gareth Bale and Van der Vaart playing high and floating inside to support Adebayor, Tottenham became narrow and enabled Arsenal to build attacks from the back. With Sagna taking every opportunity to move forward on the right and Benoît Assou-Ekotto caught out of position, Arsenal exploited this area (see diagram).
It was a day when all of Arsenal's players showed a steely determination and energy, while their level was of a high quality. Redknapp must ensure Tottenham forget about this game and move on, while Arsenal have demonstrated they are more than capable of finishing fourth.